This afternoon I took a walk to the ferry. Didn’t go anywhere but there. Just wanted to walk. Wandered the station for a bit. Got something sweet and cold.
And I wasn’t thinking about the Temperance card — except that I knew I was going to come back home and write about it, about how Temperance is one of the least flashy cards of the deck, in terms of emotional impact.
It’s no Devil, no Death, no Tower, no Empress with her flowing this and her flowing that, Miss Fertile Fecundity. Temperance instead is… balance. Feh.
You don’t gasp when you see it. And maybe you even feel a bit disappointed. Wha? No crafty Magician? No naked Star lady? But that’s part of the point I think. Temperance comes to whisper in your ear: moderation.
And if you don’t get the message, you’ll keep hearing her, and this time not in a whisper: MODERATION!!!!!
You can read any number of Tarot books that will link Temperance to Big Ideas — to alchemy or angels or the sun sign Sagittarius, the biggest idea of them all, ruled by Jupiter etc., and that’s FINE but today I’m serving Temperance terra firma. Sensible, practical, temperate!
One of my favorite interpretations is cooperation. Compromise. It’s a great card for any kind of partnership. Another meaning which I rarely remember but rediscovered today: good health, good health returning.
Even my walk today was temperate, moderate, mild. Didn’t go too fast. Didn’t go too slow. Didn’t go too far. Didn’t explore too much but some. Didn’t buy too much. Didn’t come home empty handed. A little of this, a little of that. Mixology. Alchemy. There. I said it.
So maybe Temperance isn’t as boring as she/he seems. Maybe we NEED a little self-control. And maybe there IS a little magic in this card, and protection. After all, it’s Major Arcana — the larger patterns of our lives, our fate. And yeah that is a supersize angel with supersize wings. And blond curls.
When you see the Angel of Temperance remember: you’re going to be okay, no matter the surrounding cards or circumstance. You’re not alone here. To quote American poet Elizabeth Bishop: Somebody loves us all.
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